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tv   Meet the Press  MSNBC  April 9, 2012 4:00am-5:00am EDT

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on this easter sunday i know you're not supposed to but we will mix talk of religion and politics. first, the general election campaign has begun. president obama is singling out governor romney and trying to tie him to congressional republicans and their new budget. >> it is a trojan horse disguised as deficit reduction plan is an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. >> and romney having all but sealed the gop nomination with big wins this week is returning fire. >> today instead of standing up and saying, as the president his policies have not worked,ç he will look for someone else to blame. >> this morning, the debate about the big campaign issues including the economy and health care and insight into the strategies with democratic senator from illinois dick durbin and republican governor of battleground state ohio john kasich.
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and getting the balance right in this election year amidst controversy over religious liberty. with us, william lori, archbishop-designate. and naudaughter of the reverend billy graham, anne graham lotz and democratic congressman from missouri, emanuel cleaver, republican congressman from idaho, raul labrador, a member of the jesus christ of latter-day saints. and executive editor of random house, jon meacham. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good morning. happyeaster and happy passover. a quiet holiday weekend on campaign trail as the republicans are ready for the next big showdown, the pennsylvania primary in two weeks. presidential candidate rick santorum has canceled campaign events tomorrow in order to spend time with his hospitalized
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3-year-old daughter bella who suffers from a rare genetic disorder. this morning on the issues, a disappointing snapshot of the economy on friday, it showed employ employers adding 120,000 jobs in march, half the number expected and the unemployment rate fell slightly from 8.3% to 8.2%. here to debate the way forward, give us a preview of how the economy and other issues will factor into the fall campaign, assist and the majority leader and democrat of illinois, senator dick durbin and republican governor of swing state ohio john kasich. happy easter. welcome to both of you. >> happy easter. >> i want to start, senator durbin of talk of the economy. some of the press accounts i read over the weekend asked this question, whether this dip, slower hiring represented a momentary stumble or bad turn for the economy? what do you think it is? >> i think we're moving in the
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right direction. we've had seven straight months where the unemployment rate has gone down or not gone up. we've had 26 months of economic growth. we're on the right track. like the president, we want this to move more quickly and of course we want to see more jobs created. the good news for ohio and illinois is that more manufacturing jobs are coming online. as senator sherrod brown, my colleague from ohio has been one of the most outspoken champions for manufacturing jobs being created, particularly in the automobile industry and it really gets back to this presidential campaign, because president obama said we're going to stand by the automobile companies and in doing so, we're going to put people back to work. we knowç it's happened in ohio where 1 out of 8 jobs are in the automobile industry. you'll remember governor romney at the same time said if we did that, helped the auto industry, then the whole auto industry was going to virtually disappear. he was wrong and the president was right. >> governor, the president took on the reality of our job situation when he talked about the jobs report on friday.
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i want to play a portion of that for you. >> our economy has now created more than 4 million private sector jobs over the past two years. more than 600,000 in the past three months alone. but it's clear to every american that there will still be ups and downs along the way and that we've got a lot more work to do. >> the ups and downs the president talks about certainly ohio is part of the ups here, unemployment at 7.6%. it was 9.4% when you took office. do you view this as sort of shared credit between the work you've done and the work that president obama has done on the national level? >> well, look, first of all, the credit goes to the people that invest. all we've done in ohio is create a better environment. david, when i took office we were 48th in the country in job creation. and in february, working with my partners in the legislature, we were the number one job creator in america and we're number four today. let me tell you, our success here is not based on one industry. in fact, in the auto industry and we're thrilled to see auto
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jobs coming back, that has not been the greatest growth, according to the bureau of labor statistics, we've created 1,600 jobs in the auto industry but 23,000 in health care. what we're doing in ohio is moving from a basic manufacturing economy to one that's diversified, including energy and health care and agriculture and i.t. the fact of the matter is, ohio is coming back because we set a clear path, we cut taxes, balanced our budget, we got credit upgrades when the rest of the world, including america, was being downgraded. at the same time we've deregulated or made regulation have more common sense. we've created an atmosphere for job growth in ohio. what's happened in the country, there's so much uncertainty, are they going to raise taxes, how many more regulations are going to be piled on. uncertainty affects small business, all job creators in america. this recovery, while i feel good about the fact that we're moving
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in the right direction, at the federal level is too anemic. frankly what i've got concerned about is i have wind in my face. hey high is doing what they can do but i wish they'd get their act together in washington. >> let's talk about that, senator durbin as we focus on the economy, on the budget, on the question of taxes in washington, we have a general election campaign that's shaping up with two distinct visions of the country, the debate this week as the president talked about, about the congressional republican budget, about efforts to take on medicare as the paul ryan plan does, taxes, cutting th president talked about the ryan plan. >> for much of the last century, we have been having the same argument with folks who keep peddling some version of trickle-down economics. now, the problem for advocates of this theory is that we've tried their approach. on a massive scale. the results of their experiment are there for all to see.
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prosperity sure didn't trickle down. >> let's start with you, governor, first on this. this was a shot across the bow, philosophically, ideologically and it has to do with the broader economy from the president. >> david, what we've done in ohio, we cut taxes, we had an $8 billion hole, we balanced the budget and didn't play politics. we've been praised by the aarp for our work in medicaid, we have been praised by the people who have been advocates for mentally ill. there are ways to modernize entitlement programs and come out with better results at lower prices. the problem is in washington they play this politics. what we've done out here is provide a clearer path for business to create jobs without overregulating them. we have reduced taxes on small business and at the same time, we've balanced our budget. i mean, what we've done here, we're exploding in ohio with these -- with the largest amount of growth in jobs in february and number four in the country.
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we were 48th over the last four years. if they would follow the formula, it's common sense. it's not trickle-down economics. the problem that the president has is he's rutterless on the economy. he doesn't quite know what to do. it's wake up on monday and try to figure it out. it takes time to turn a super tanker. you need to know where you have to go. that's what we've done. they should learn from that in washington. >> senator, do you agree with that? should you learn? >> i was a member of president obama's bipartisan simpson bowles commission. that commission, of course, ended up with 11 of 18 voting in favor of it. that included senator tom coburn, a conservative and myself. we have to put everything on the table and combine revenue with spending cuts. now look at the paul ryan budget. let me start by saying,
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congressman ryan voted no. the ryan budget which mitt romney called marvelous ends up giving a tax break to the wealthiest people in america of $150,000 a year. governor kasich, we can't do that. we have to use that money to reduce the deficit. we have to cut spending and put everything on the table. i think governor mitt romney's approach to this sadly is a return to the same economic policy we had under president bush. that brought on the worstç recession since the great depression. we don't want to go back to those economic policies. >> david, i will say this. i think we can have tax reform but that doesn't mean tax increases. we ought to make the rates flatter. we ought to get rid of a bunch of the loopholes. i want to commend senator durbin. i know he did hard work with a number of people on both sides of the aisle in the senate. the fact of the matter is, we have to top the whole class warfare business. we can in fact close loopholes, lower rates, provide more
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incentives. our corporate tax rates are the highest in the world. look, all i'm interested in in ohio and i think dick is interested in in america is creating jobs. it's a moral issue. it helps families, keeps marriages stronger, lifts kids out of poverty. that's what we're all about. they have to get their act together. in states where people have got their act together we've seen significant progress and that's what has to be learned from it. when i was in d.c. by the way, i was there 18 years, we balanced the budget in 1997 without a tax increase. the fact is she want to keep spending in that city. it's not going to get us where we need to get to. >> that's not political rhetoric. it just gets down to cold, hard facts. >> senator durbin, i want to ask you about the competing visions for the country. it comes down to competing views of the role of government. what role should government play to try to, as you might describe it, level the playing field in terms of taxes? that's how the president might describe it, republicans would describe that differently or
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creating new entitlements like health care or as republicans might say, deal with the fact that our entitlement state is too big. it's affecting our ability to help people get into the middle class or go on from there. governor romney described it like this when he won his primaries on tuesday night. let's watch a portion of that. >> there is a basic choice that we're going to face. the president has pledged to transform america. and he spent the last four years laying the foundation for a new government centered society. i will spend the next four years rebuilding the foundation of an opportunity society led by free people and free enterprises. >> as you know, senator, governor romney is on to something in that a lot of americans distrust big institutions, including government, to deal with some of the most pressing problems. what governor romney calls the government centered society. >> i can tell you this, david, governor kasich makes mention of making the moral decision. the moral decision for working
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families in illinois and ohio is to make sure that as they work hard, they have an opportunity to succeed. we have seen working families falling further and further behind and mitt romney promises more of the same. in terms of the role of government, let me mention this, 10,000 people reached the age of 65 today and yesterday and tomorrow and for the next 18 years, these men and women who have paid into medicare and social security are now reaching retirement. the obvious question of mitt romney is, what would you do with those people? i know what the paul ryan budget would do. it would basically say medicare is going to be a different program, it's going to be a support program. we'll hand you a check and good luck finding health insurance in the open market. that to me does not give people security in their retirement. it is not a boost of confidence for their children. government has an appropriate role to do those things we can't do by ourselves. >> don't we also have an obligation in government, governor, to say to the citizens, you have to understand reality, even though we've made
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a promise, there's a fiscal reality that this program can't be sustained. >> let me tell you, in our state, with medicaid, for example, we provided a provision to let moms and dads stay at home if they could rather than be in a nursing home at a fifth of the cost where they're healthier and happier. i believe you can reform these programs, modernize them into the 21st century, save money and provide more customer or taxpayer satisfaction. what's happened here is with the name calling and all the politics they're unwilling to look at 21st century approaches because government clearly has a role in the area of health care, you know, medicare and medicaid and social security. but we need to modernize the program and we need to do it together. if we do that, we can get ourselves on a better fiscal track. look, we don't want to be greece. we don't want to be places where people are rioting because we waited so long to get things fixed we're pulling the rug from under them. we need to start on it now and unfortunately, david, the parties are so much at war in
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washington, that they seem unable to agree on anything. that's tragic. you know, my girls are 12 years old. i want them to have a strong america and i think we can have it all. i think we can modernize these programs. i think we can make things simpler, i think we can reduce taxes, have tax reform and we can do it. look, i was part of it in '97, the first time we balanced the budget since man walked on the moon. we've done it in ohio. the results have been good. we have a long way to go but the results have been positive for families. i don't you have to learn the lessons where it works and it's working here. >> i'd like to hopscotch around a couple different issues. senator durbin, this controversy about the general servicesed administration, the head of which stepped down and then a video pops down as part of this, one of the employees doing a rap about how they could excessively stand and office of inspector
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general would not even notice. it was the inspector general that investigated all this. the question that's come up, how can this go on when there was a report submitted to the administration? did the administration react too slowly. >> i'm glad the gsa administrator left. it's one odç the committees i have responsibility under the appropriations committee. we'll have a hearing as to what happened here. it's an outrageous expenditure of taxpayer money. the white house made it clear that the group in charge was going to be dismissed and resign and they did. so we say whether it's democrats, republicans, state of illinois, ohio or washington, that kind of misuse of taxpayer funds is totally unacceptable. >> governor kasich, i want to ask you about the republican race. at this point you're on record saying there are a number of candidates that you hoped would get in the race and ultimately did not get in the race and you have not endorsed anyone. do you think the fight for the nomination is over? >> i want to say this to you, david. you don't want to judge that. these people work their tails
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off trying to get to be president and trying to judge it and handicap the horse race is not what i'm comfortable with. let that take care of itself. i haven't endorsed. everybody i endorsed or was for dropped out or didn't run. i'll wait until we have a nomin nominee. the party will get its act together and be competitive in the fall. and let me also say, it's good to be on with my friend dick durbin, i will tell you this, those folks at the gsa are going to get an awakening from dick durbin. he's been a friend of my for a long time. good to be with you this morning. what a day of hope in our lives with easter and the opportunity for us to think about what we can do to spread the word of the lord and be kind to people and be part of a new creation. >> amen to that. but still one follow-up. which is do you have any concerns about governor romney as the standard bearer, the nominee of the party in carrying your state of ohio which we know will be so important in the fall.
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>> it will be close. it will be tight as a tick out here, david. it always is. ohio is a battleground state. it's those independent voters and whoever can tell them -- whoever can tell them that they're going to improve this economy, create jobs for families will be the winner. >> governor kasich, senator durbin, thank you both this morning. coming up, a special easter sunday discussion. focusing on faith and politics. what role should individual faith play in the policy decisions of our national leaders? and how will the recent controversy over religious freedom play out in the fall campaign? that's next after this short break. "meet the press [ female announcer ] every baby should have the freedom to play their way and pampers cruisers with 3-way fit helps them do it. they adapt at the waist, legs and bottom with up to 12 hours of protection. ♪ pampers. it's time to play. ♪ like, keep one of these over your head. well, i wasn't "supposed" to need flood insurance,
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coming up here, a special easter sunday discussion on faith and politics. joining me, anne graham
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and we are back with a special east every sunday discussion. i'm joined by democratic congressman of missouri and united methodist pastor emanuel cleaver, daughter of the reverend billy graham, anne graham lotz, his excellency, bishop william lori, archbishop-designate of baltimore. the executive editor of random house, author of "american gospel: god, the founding fathers, and the making of a nation," jon meacham and republican congressman of idaho, raul labrador, a member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints, commonly known as the mormon church. welcome to all of you. i want to get it right out front. i'm doing something you're not supposed to do, mixing politics and religion, and on easter
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sunday to boot. i wanted to have this conversation because it seems to me, the role of faith in our national life as a national discussion but certainly the role that it plays for our national leader seems overly ripe in this campaign season particularly. that's where i want to start. because the criticism from republican candidates for the presidency, against this administration has really blew down to this issue of whether faith is under fire. listen. >> i think there is in this country, a war on religion. i think there is a desire to establish a religion in america known as secularism.ç >> this administration is waging war on religion. if he wins re-election he will wage war on the catholic church the morning after he's re-elected. >> the president has reached a new low in this country's history of oppressing religious freedom that we've never seen before. >> jon meacham, play referee here. is this accurate? >> i don't think so.
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i don't think so. i think religion has been part of the american experience from the beginning. we were in search of gold but also religious liberty. you cannot run for president without a plausible faith story and i think in a nation that is overwhelmingly religious, perhaps more in terms of polls than observance sometimes, i don't think there's a war on religion. i think there's a robust disagreement about a lot of important issues and because religious faith like economics, like partisanship, like geography is an intrinsic part of human experience. there's always going to be a religious component to debates over issues. >> archbishop, when you have an issue of the role of government in a health care decision like insurance actually funding congress tra sepg
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contraception, you have tension. that's where that criticism came from. what is the nature of this war? do you agree? >> what we've seen, the bishops of the united states have seen, is an erosion of religious liberty. perhaps we wouldn't use the word war but you underestimate, however, how engaged we are in the struggle and how determined we are. but there has been the hhs mandate is certainly the most urgent of these underminings of religious liberty. >> explain why do you think it undermines it. what the mandate actually does and why you think that's an erosion of freedom. >> first of all, we have the government imposing its definition on what religion and religious organizations are to be. it's an inward-looking definition. if you're only serving your own, hiring your own, inculcating our own doctrine, you're exempt. the minute you serve the common good, which is what all of our organizations do, then you're
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not exempt. then you're subject to having to provide, fund and/or facilitate services which are contrary to the church's teaching and i don't think we should have to do that. >> congressman cleaver, as a democrat but also a minister, how do you come down on this question? >> i think we need to take god off the ballot. this issue surfaces every two years, for sure every fourç years. i think people exaggerate certain positions in order to help themselves politically. there's no war on religion in this country. this country would not even tolerate war. but people realize, clearly, that religion causes us to write, to fight, to even die. so it has a grip on us that nothing else holds as tightly. so people realize that and they
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exploit it during the political season. i think that's something we have to get away from. >> anne lotz, in this particular case, was this the government going too far or the government saying, look, if you want to be an insurer and you want federal funds, there's a path you must follow. >> i would have to confess, i'm not on expert on that. and i would come very close to siding with archbishop lori. i believe it is a beginning. it's just a very small step in a direction that i think could become something more serious. i'd like to go back to your opening statement about the importance of religion and politics, because we at our president or leaders as having religious example for us. and the thing that i think is so important, the bible says the beginning of wisdom is fear of god. i believe one of the greatest lacks in our nation today is that genuine fear, reverence of almighty god. that's where wisdom begins. we have a lot of knowledge.
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you can go on google and pull up all sorts of stuff but to know how to use the knowledge to benefit people in this country, that's what i look for. i want my leader to have a fear and respect and reverence for god. >> i'm going to come back to this expectation of faith among our leaders in a moment. congressman labrador, we are on the precipice of a historic moment for mormons in this country. that is mitt romney is a mormon. somebody who has a significant role in the church looks like he's going to become the republican nominee. and congressman cleaver talked about the need to take religion off the ballot. here you had orrin hatch from utah, senator in utah, saying that the obama administration, the campaign is going to throw the mormon church at mitt romney and make this an issue. do you agree with that? and how would he do that? >> i think the media will do that for the obama campaign. let's talk about your original question real quick. there's an attack on religious freedom at this point. if you look at what the obama
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administration did with the contraception issue, they first set up a rule that was contrary to some religions, then they decided that they were going to reform -- they were going to change that rule and when they changed that rule they really didn't change the rule but actually just said they were going toç change the rule. they wanted to have a conversation about contraceptives which nobody was talking about at the time. the first time they talked about contraceptives is george stephanopoulos in one of the debates, he brought it up. there wasn't a single republican candidate talking about that issue. all of a sudden we start talking about an issue that wasn't a campaign issue and we started on an attack on religious freedom. going back to your question about mormonism, everyone in politics is going to have some sort of role, is going to be influenced by their faith, whether it's emanuel by his faith, me by my faith. i think we can't talk about having politics void of any
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religious faith. then what you're saying, you're asking people to not be who they are. >> i'm asking about this very specific charge. you have the senior senator from utah saying the mormon church will thrown at the republican nominee who is a mormon. in what way? you said you think the media will do it. >> look at your own network, msnbc, lawrence o'donnell is saying nasty things about the mormon religion, about the founding of our religion, that it was based on some guy waking up some morning and deciding that he wanted -- that he had an extramarital affair and that's how the religion was founded. there's some really nasty things already being said by your own network, by nbc. there's many other people that will be talking about these things. i think what we need to realize is that everybody's faith origin are peculiar if you look at any one of us. we need to realize that what you need to look at is the men, the man, mitt romney. i have not endorsed mitt romney
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but it clearly looks like he's going to be the nominee for the republican party. we need to look at his life and the things that he has done. and he's had a very, very good life. >> jon meacham, this question of whether his mormon faith will become an issue, whether the president who has had to face down questions about whether he is a muslim, which he's not, over time, does this become a big issue as we move through the campaign? >> i'm going to offer a counterintuitive argument. i wonder if because of those two premiseses you just set out, i wonder if perhaps explicitly religion will be less important in the fall, in the general election, than at any time since 1972 before roe versus wade really transformed the landscape. because it's not in, frankly, either candidate's interest to get into theological debate at this point. the great thing about the country has always been we've created a public sphere in which religion shapes us without strangling us. that was the great achievement
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of the founders. and it's something that from generation to generation has been respected.ç the father is one of the great figures in this. billy graham plays a role in this in our culture in a nonsectarian way. when we talk about wars on religion, this eternal conflict, let's think about it. where do we go in moments of national crisis or mourning? we go to the national cathedral. where do people pray at inaugurations. there's a tolerance, an acceptance, a hunger for a religious conversation. and i think that the more generic it is, i understand the theological problems with this, the more generic it is, the more effective and the more accepted it is. and i just wondered if you get to october, whether it's in either candidate's interest to bring up specific religious issues. >> it is not a theological
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debate. we are not trying to get the government to stop something or to start something. what we are talking about is the government forcing religious organizations to do somethi that is against their teaching. this is a religious liberty fight. we recognize there's a lot of opinions about sterilization and contraception. what we're saying is we're not just houses of worship, we are places that try to live our teachings as we serve the common good. we have this freedom now, we've had it for generations, our teachings have been accommodated, but now they're not being accommodated. this represents a definite diminishment of our freedom to provide our services -- >> archbishop, you're arguing the issue of contraception and
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the obama administration's rule which they would argue there's an exception provided for an an accommodation provided for that the insurance would pay for it directly. rather than go down that road, which i don't think will convince you, i want to stay on this broader question, congressman cleaver, which is in the case of mitt romney, but more generally about someone's faith, as a person of faith that romney is and as a mormon, it's the core of who he is. as a missionary for two years, somebody who was a bishop in the church, which is -- correct me if i'm wrong -- the equivalent of being a priest. a close association with the church. he doesn't really talk about what guides him so powerfully. isn't it fair for both scrutiny, questions, because there's so much ignorance of the mormon faith but to understand the man to understand his religious journey? >> look, i think all of us who claim some kind of connectionço
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religion and if we are in government, we are informed by that religion and we are, in many instances, regulated by it. we don't have to make an announcement every day and go out and wave a flag. it comes out of our sum bodiness. i have to talk about it. when i was mayor of kansas city, we had -- our church opposed -- the methodist church opposed gaming. i said from the very beginning, if i'm going to do what my church says, then i should have campaigned as a methodist running for mayor. i did not. and so, therefore, i eventually signed that into law. i'm not going to vote for governor romney but i am more concerned about washington's religion of confusionism than i am govern romney's religion about mormonism. so i think we have to stop this. it's not healthy for the nation.
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we've completely forgotten article 6, paragraph 3 which says there shall be no religious test. i think we have to try to prevent our country from doing that, epl that. >> i understand that. you have the likelihood of a mormon republican nominee. is there not an opportunity for more national understanding and more of a discussion about the mormon faith when you have the standard bearer of one of our two major political parties of that faith? >> i think it will be. when you just addressed him and said out of your deep conviction, what drives them, what's the powerful force that drives them, i think you can learn by seeing what he has done. his policies, his decisions and how he has conducted his life. so you can learn from that something of how his religion
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drives him. i think rather than discussing the religion, i'm not into religion, that would be another discussion, i would like to talk about easter morning at some point this morning, because this is our day, but your religion on the table is a policy. the decisions, the social part driving this nation. the discussion of religion is almost a smoke screen and diversion from the real issue and that's the policies. there's a clear choice, i think, this fall between the nation is going to be led. that's what i think we ought to be looking at, not so much as at the religious preference of a particular person. >> president kennedy, even though that is a speech that causes senator santorum stomach problems in 1960 gave a marvelousstatement of this on exactly this point, that he was not the catholic candidate for president. he was the democratic candidate for president. and voters can make a judgment on the whole person, the whole policy.
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but i don't think, to the congressman's point, i don't think we want presidents sitting around discussing substitutionary atonement. we don't want people, i think, discussing -- there's enough for presidents to do than having them worry about the theologies of religion. >> in the united states right now, orrin hatch and haley reed are both members of faitthe sam faith. they're both faithful members of the church. you can't find two more opposite people, two people who have different philosophies and political doctrines. so i think it's important to know a little bit about mitt romney and his religion but i think it's more important, like i said before, i have not endorsed mitt romney. i have not decided -- i'm not going to go out and endorse him. i think he's going to be the candidate. i do believe it's time for
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republicans to get around, to get behind him. it's time to beat obama. >> let me ask you one more thing about your specific faith. i want to show you a poll done by quinnipiac over the summer. would you feel uncomfortable with a mormon president? republicans 29% say yes, democrats 46%. >> more biased people are the democrats. >> but let me ask you that. unlike christianity, a lot of people say the difficulty that mormons have is that the religion is relatively new and, therefore, critics can be debunked more easily or attempted to be debunked. is there room for governor romney to take some of these issues on? not to get engaged in a doctrineaire discussion of the mormon faith but take some of the issues on because there are questions and there is discomfort. >> he should talk about who he is and what formed him. he discussed his missionary work. i was a missionary in two years
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in south america. my oldest son is a missionary in south america. it is one of the most informative things you can do in your life. i think he can talk about that, relate to that. he was a bishop and state president in the church which means that he dealt with a lot of different issues dealing with poverty and other issues. he should talk about that a little bit more. you shouldn't be getting into the theology, because every church is a different dogma, a different teaching. and we shouldn't be judging, as emanuel just said, we shouldn't be judging. the constitution tells us we shouldn't beç having religious people really love snapshot from progressive, but don't just listen to me. listen to these happy progressive customers. i plugged in snapshot, and 30 days later, i was saving big on car insurance. i was worried it would be hard to install. but it's really easy. the better i drive, the more i save. i wish our company had something this cool.
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we are back with our roundtable up. back in 1957 your father, the reverend billy graham was on this program. the question came up in the context of how to spread the word to the public, how to talk about religion. we've been talking about de-emphasizing the talk of theology in our national political life and yet here was reverend billy graham saying, hey, now, we have to broadcast this. watch. >> i'm selling the greatest product in the world. why shouldn't it be promoted as well as soap? is that an accurate quote. >> i think it possibly is. >> do you care to explain it to us? >> yes, i do believe we can use
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modern means of communication. the problem of the church today is indifference in it's evangelistic thrust. it's facing indifference. we have the problem of communication, we have the message. but how to communicate it to the masses. we have used television and radio and the press in every way we possibly can to communicate the fact that christ can transform human lives. >> he was for and is for using every platform available. >> right. for the church, for my daddy who is an evangelist and televised his meetings, i don't think he was necessarily talking about the political arena when you're running for president. we were having a discussion over the break that it's interesting that jimmy carter and george bush were considered evangelicals but very different. we have to look at the policies. i would not vote for a man who was an atheist. i believe you have to have an
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acknowledgement of reverence, of fear, for almighty god. i believe that's where wisdom comes from. >> it's interesting you say that, the point about public's desire for men and women of faith in national life. we have polling that indicates really that point of how strongly that belief is held. 65% archbishop, believe that it's important that a presidential candidate believes in god. >> you know, i think people have an intuition that religious faith is connected with the moral values that make for just laws, and that if we cut our laws away from their moral morings, we're not going to have a society which we would like to think of as a civilization of justice and love. so there really -- i think that what we want to say is that religion is not anç irrational force. it's not a divisive force. in all of our diversity, our
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faith contributes to a moral consensus that underlies our laws. and the more we build that moral consensus about the dignity of human life, solidarity, the common good, the more we're going to be able to find ways of talking across the partisan divide. and so i think that religion has a huge role to play, and we have to watch out, getting instrumentalized one way or the other. >> that was the madisonian position, religion would be a force, not the force. we've seen how well theocracies work around the world. if you have a pluralistic democratic society in which religion is respected but not exulted above other forces, that's a pretty good system. that's what we've come up with. i think we tamper with it at our peril. >> go ahead, congressman. >> we need to be, i think, very
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honest. religion at its very essence requires theological arrogance. because, i mean, we have to declare, this is what i believe and i believe that this is the way. and so what we have to understand is that this nation is united in its diversity and, therefore, even with the arrogance we have to have respect. that's the part that i'm concerned about right now. i don't think president obama is -- it's ludicrous that president obama wants to have a war on religion. it makes no sense. respect, we have to respect our differences. that's the one thing that should separate us as a nation from the rest of the world. >> congressman labrador, there was a moment all of these questions about the president's faith and whether he's a muslim and it came up on fox news on the hannity program. they had a focus group they were
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doing. i want to show a piece of that, because it was very striking to watch. >> i believe barack obama's religious beliefs do govern his foreign policy. >> what are his religious beliefs. >> i believe he's a muslim. >> you do? >> yes. >> how many believe that here? wow. you believe he's a muslim? >> yes. >> on its face to say he's a muslim is thought to be a bad thing. colin powell was on this program saying so what if he was. why wouldn't that be acceptable? is that unacceptable? is that -- is this being used as a way, has it been used to delegitimize the president. >> first of all, i don't believe he's a muslim. he's told us he's a christian and i believe him. i don't agree with that clip.ç but it wouldn't matter if he is. i agree with anne, what we need to look at is the policies, what are the policies that the individual has? the policies that obama have put on this nation have weakened our
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nation. that's what i'm worried about, not what his religion is. i think it's important for us to understand that. it would be important for romney as well or whoever the nominee is. like i said, it looks like it will be romney. >> the question of political reconciliation is one that interests me as well. as a jew, on passover, we read from leviticus. we have to remember we were once slaves in the land of egypt. if you remember that, you think about the duties of liberation but you also think of the other. how as human beings we're all enslaved in one form or another. does anybody see a path from their own religious faith, convictions, to take it into the political arena as a way to reach some kind of reconciliation that we don't see? >> it seems to me that, as we approach and celebrate these high holy days, that we share in
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common, christians and jews, share a lot in common this time of year, among them, the story, the story of liberation, not just from one place to another but sin and grace and restoration of human dignity. i think what we need to uphold in our country is a renewed sense of the dignity of the human person. and the dignity of the human person always includes the person's transcendent dimension, the fact that the person has an openness to god and also the values, the truths that underlie human dignity. and various religions might approach that in various ways, but i think the true test for religious liberty is when the minority, unpopular views, find respect.
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i would just also add, and i represent some of those, i represent those teachings. that are a bit countercultural. those have to be respected and accommodated as well as others. >> our finest hours have been driven, in part, by religious motivation and conviction. arguably the greatest moment of religious nondenominational cooperation was the civil rights moment, the reverend martin luther king performed an essential mosaic role in an exodus story. n the steps of the lincoln memorial. lincoln ran against an evangelist for congress. i went to one of his meetings one. he did the call, anybody who wants to go to heaven stand up. lincoln didn't stand up. he said where are you going? he said i'm going to congress. maybe you can go to both. i don't know if that's possible. you have a wonderful thread, a wonderful history, experience
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has taught us -- to go to your question -- experience has taught us that we can have fine hours, hours of reform and reclamation without being hopelessly divided. >> do you have a lesson on this easter morning from your faith, tradition, that is instructive, you think, to our national leaders and presidential candidates? >> i do, david. thank fyou for asking. i was thinking when you were talking about your heritage, they were saved by the blood of a lamb. on this easter day, i just have to say for me, i'm a sinner and easter means to me that i can be forgiven of my sin. i put my faith in jesus as god's lamb. i can be forgiven, reconciled to god. i can have peace with god, eternal life. i know i'm going to heaven but also have a personal relationship with god. >> i'm going to leave it there. thank you all very much. very interesting conversation. a quick programming note here, house budget chair paul
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ryan will appear exclusively this tuesday on "today." also, you can watch our "press pass" conversation our blog. i spoke with nikki haley about politics in her new memoir entitled "can't is not an option." it was released this week. that is all for today. happy [ water ] hey, it's me water. guys, check this out. [ crowd ] yay! aww! yay! aww! [ water ] see? and it removes 99% of lead and microbial cysts. [ crowd cheering ] and the crowd goes wild. [ imitates crowd cheering ]
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so easy label, right?d healthy. but that label can lead to prejudice and discrimination, and we don't want to go there. so let's try to see people for who they really are. you can help create a more united states. the more you know. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com you can help create a more united states.
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